The Innovation Center (IC), Ohio University’s business incubator, is giving early stage businesses a new, affordable way to leverage incubator resources and engage with the ecosystem’s startup community.
The IC’s new Virtual Client Membership offers entrepreneurs who don’t need dedicated office space access to the incubator’s other resources. Founders can receive direct assistance from the professional staff at the Innovation Center, access to five conference rooms, use of the business center equipment and inclusion in entrepreneurial events and trainings.
Advances in technology allow some startups to work from anywhere with just a laptop and a wireless internet connection, reducing the companies’ need to rent office space. However, most businesses still need the professional assistance, meeting space and supportive community that incubation provides, said Stacy Strauss, director of the Innovation Center.
“We are so pleased to offer this new membership option, which will allow the IC to broaden and increase its impact on the local economy,” Strauss said. “This offering allows us to meet the changing needs of clients and ensures we remain current and relevant in the value we provide to budding entrepreneurs and growing businesses.”
In 2016, the IC was named Rural Incubator of the Year by the International Business Innovation Association (InBIA). The IC also was recognized as a 2015-17 Top University Business Incubator in North America by UBI Global, an organization that benchmarks business incubators and accelerators around the world. The center was ranked #8 in the North American region and #3 in the United States.
The IC’s 36,000 square-foot facility features six biotechnology labs, 33 offices, prototype development space and equipment. The center serves local entrepreneurs by providing flexible workspaces, meeting and laboratory facilities and access to shared equipment. The incubator also offers business coaching, access to funding opportunities and connections to other resources to help startup companies grow. The business incubator works closely with university and regional partners, including TechGROWTH Ohio, a public/private partnership based at Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs.
In 2016, Innovation Center clients and recent graduates added 151 new jobs with an annual average salary that was more than double the average regional income.
Over the last year, the IC also attracted more than 300 attendees to 12 events, including its Founders’ Forum, which unites CEOs and founders of current clients and recent graduates to discuss topics of interest, share lessons learned and exchange best practices.
Entrepreneurs interested in learning more about the IC’s Virtual Client Membership should contact Tanya Conrath, associate director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (740) 593-9346.